November 11, 2019


Quezon, Palawan


Elder Serranilla

Quezon: Letter to Friends & Family

Hey family and friends,

sorry its been a while since ive written. its been a really awesome few months and i am loving every second of it. I am in a new area now, ive been here for 6 weeks now. its at the bottom of palawan and is a jungle area that i get to use a bike in.
im super excited to be here. my new companions name is elder serranilla and he is such an awesome guy. he is from chicago but is full filipino and its so awesome that he gets to come learn the language of his ancestors.

I was really excited when i found out I was coming to quezon. i was told when i first got to the mission that i was supposed to be trained here, until there was a last second swap and we were put into san juan. i always wondered to myself if i would
ever get assigned in quezon. then, 2 weeks before my transfer here, president felt prompted to move the zone leaders from brookes point to quezon. and now im here :) i know that revelation guides every aspect of our lives. the holy ghost effects things
more than we could possibly realize. im so excited to meet the families and teach the people that the lord has in store for us.

i also get to live with one of my best friends, elder erickson. he and i met in mandaluyong zone during the beginnings of our missions and are planning on going to byu i together as well. he is a district leader here and its so fun to wrok with him and
to go on exchanges with him. he and his companion elder obando are such great guys and i love the both of them.

ill share some stories from this week as well as a few things i have been pondering, and ill try to be more consistent in my emails.

we had a couple spiritual experiences this week that i wanted to share. the first happened as elder serranilla and i rode our bikes to an appointment. my companion stopped and said that we must visit a part member family that they used to teach. he
said that they used to go to church but hadnt in forever, and that the husband was nearly baptized. we went and were welcomed in. we talked with her and she told us that birth cirtificate problems had kept her from getting married and they had gotten so
busy that they stopped going to church. we started sharing about the atonement, prophets, sacred ordinances and covenants (promises). my companion turned to me and i had a prompting to turn to a specific verse. we opened to the sacramental verses. the
spirit then impressed upon my mind three questions that i needed to ask her. i told her to ponder these as we read. i told her "we are going to read about the promise we made at our baptisms and i want you to ponder three thing sfor me. 1) what promise
did i make at baptism? 2) am i living my promise to heavenly father? and 3) if not, how can i better live my promise?" she agreed and started to read. "oh god, the eternal father. we ask thee in the name of thy son jesus christ-" she stopped with watery
eyes and told me she was about to cry. i asked her to keep reading "to bless and sanctify this bread to the soulds of all those who partake of it. that they may do it in rememberance of the body of thy son, and witness unto thee, oh god, the eternal father.
that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy son, and always remember him, and keep his commandments which he hath given them, that they may always have his spirit to be with them" by the end of it she was sobbing. she turned to me and asked,
"why did you pick this verse??" she then went on to explain how when she was newly baptized that this was the best and most peaceful part of her week, when she would renew her covenants with the lord and think about the saviors sacrifice. she wept on about
how she used to think that she would be active forever, but fell into temptation and fell away. she told us that she wants so bad for her son to grow up in the church and to serve a mission. she talked about wanting to be married in the temple and how much
she misses feeling the spirit. she then told us that the night before we came, she had a dream where the lord told her that she had drifted away from him but that he wanted her back. and then we came out of no where. we told her to have hope and that all
those things were possible if she would take the first step to come back. we told her that she knew what she needed to do. she nodded and we gave her promises through the holy spirit that the lord would bless her family and prepare a way for them to be together
forever if she would come back. we closed in teh name of jesus christ and left. i am grateful for the promptings of the holy spirit and how heavenly father uses it to bring hope to the lives of his children.

another happened on exchanges with elder erickson in my area. we went to visit a referral who has lived and worked for members of our church for a year. we sat down with this young couple, and began to teach the restoration. they sat , staring at the
ground for most of it, giving short answers to any questions we asked. as we told them the first vision, i wondered if they were interested at all. i paused and said, " sister...if joseph was a true prophet, how would that make you feel?" she looked up
and responded "i would feel that the people who learned about him and had faith would be very lucky" i was taken aback. we then read moroni 10:3-5 and i asked her what it meant, "she said that we must ask heavenly father in prayer if it were true, and he
would manifest it by the holy ghost." she insisted as well that the prayer must come with real intent, with an honest desire to know for yourself. i asked her if she had that desire and she said she did. when we came back she told us about here reading and
prayer. she learned for herself that it was true and how it was already helping them have a more peaceful relationship. we taught and tesitfied about how the gospel blesses families and that through the holy ghosts strengthening power and a gospel centered
hoe, we can prepare to be sealed for eternity. i am very excited to see how the next lesson with them goes.

one of the things i have been pondering is how we rejoice in the midst of trial. i watched the book of mormon video with nephi on the boat and realized just how hard of a trial that must have been. i imagined the waves beating him for three days, the
sea sickness, not being able to sleep, the rope burns. it must have been a terrible and painful experience, but through it all nephi not only trusted his god, but praised him in the midst of his trial. similarly i pondered the heartbreaking story of a byu
football coach who lost their young child. i remember their hopeful and trusting response as they testified of the saviors atoning sacrifice and that families can be forever. oh how i admire the faith and strength of these righteous disciples of christ.
i pondered to myself how i could become like them. I recalled a time in my mission, where i was new to palawan. about my first week into the new area, we had a blckout in the middle of the night and i awoke, dripping wet with sweat in a 90+ degree bedroom.
i sat for hours, longing for exhaustion to put me to sleep and remember complaining to heavenly father, "why must i be kept up with this black out?? i am trying my hardest to be the best missionary i can be. im trying to serve you with all my heart. why
must i go through this?" i awoke the next morning ashamed for my ungratefulness and asked my heavenly father for forgiveness. the next few months were some of the best and hardest moments of my entire life. i faced new and difficult challenges that brought
me to my knees. i remember many long prayers and reading the scriptures, which taught me how to rely on the lord. i now realize that as we turn to our savior in trial, and grow from them, the lord builds our conversion to the point that we may praise him
even in trial. because of our love and trust in him. this realization came this week as i struggled with being sick. i was up again at all hours of the night, just as before, but as i sat on the couch, i had a spiritual experience. i sat there thinking
about how much i loved my savior and how glad i was to be serving him as a missionary. i said in my mind, that if heavenly father wanted me to stay up and endure it, that was fine with me. that i loved him and would praise him in my trial. I want to testify
that i know the savior lives. i know that because he suffered and died, we may find peace in our affliction. nephi writes, "having seen many afflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless having been highly favored of the lord" . i know life isnt easy.
i certainly know missions arent, but even though each one of us may be called to bear burdens that are hard to bear, i hope each of us can say within ourselves that we have been highly favored of the lord. i certainly feel highly blessed by the lord. i am no
where to the level of nephi or that byu coach, but i am grateful that slowly but surely the lord is teaching me how to praise him and trust him in my trial :)

i love the mission so much. i am having the best time ever. thanks for the love , support, and prayers. we really feel them on the mission. I know for myself that the savior is real and that he loves you. talk to you guys later!


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